US Officials to Meet With NATO on Afghan Deployment

May 1 deadline fast approaching, plans remain uncertain

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will participate in meetings with NATO officials in Brussels this week. Expectations are that they will talk up the usual buildups against Russia and other long-term interests.

Another focus though is Afghanistan, with the May 1 deadline for the US pullout rapidly approaching, and no one having come up with an announcement of what the plan actually will be.

The Biden Administration has downplayed the idea of meeting the May 1 deadline, wanting 3-6 more months. They never got the Taliban to sign off on that, however. At the same time, NATO is presumed to be leaving when the US does.

NATO has argued that they can’t stay without the US, but also that they want to stay. This seems intended to commit the US to staying to protect NATO, and gives Biden an excuse to stay, like he wants to.

Only weeks from May 1 is late to make a decision, especially when officials have talked down the pullout since Biden took office without a concrete alternative strategy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.